When a reporter asked Browns Coach Freddie Kitchens if he has lost control of the team following a 21-7 win over the Steelers, he replied no.
In reality, he should have said yes.
Sure the Browns beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and earlier this year beat the Baltimore Ravens.
The 21-7 score over Pittsburgh is deceptive as it is was 14-7 for most of the entire second half. Pittsburgh was within a touchdown most of the second half, but couldn’t move the football to save their life.
The problem though goes back to discipline. Something they haven’t had all year.
This year 87 penalties have been accepted against the Browns, the most in the NFL.
This year the Browns have 822 penalty yards, the most in the NFL.
This year the Browns also have four ejections, the most in the NFL.
This is a coaching issue, which has been present and remains present with this team. Nothing changes from week to week as the Browns continue to commit penalty after penalty week after week.
The play calling was mediocre at best during the Steelers game as there were several drives again where the Browns couldn’t move the football.
Yes, the Browns beat the Steelers this week and the Bills last week, but in all honesty, both games were ugly. For much of the third quarter, the Browns and Steelers both looked like really bad football teams.
The highlight for the Browns against the Steelers was the Browns defense grabbing four interceptions thrown by Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph. It wasn’t the Browns offense by any means.
Kitchens remains in over his head something I have been stating for weeks. Despite the wins, Kitchens is not getting the job done.
Keep in mind how bad the Steelers really are. Also, keep in mind how bad some of the upcoming opponents are like Cincinnati and Miami. While the Browns may and should win five of the remaining six games, they are against weak opponents.
If Kitchens wants any shot at saving his job, he will straighten this team up and make it clear the Browns will not lead the league in penalties when the season comes to a close.
Prior to the Thursday night game against the Steelers, the Browns cut Antonio Callaway, who is facing a 10-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy again. Callaway started this season with a four-game suspension for the same reason. This comes not long after the Browns cut Jermaine Whitehead for threating violence on Twitter.
The culture in Cleveland is bad and players are not learning and having to cut these two players are perfect examples of that.
The Browns and Steelers game ended in what was likely one of the most embarrassing ways possible when Myles Garrett took off Rudolph’s helmet and swung it hitting Rudolph in the head. Many other players jumped in and it turned ugly, fast. Regardless of who started it, Garrett was wrong. He will be suspended and several other players likely will be too.
The end of the game incident doesn’t fall on Kitchens though. Coaches don’t coach for that kind of stuff to happen as Garrett lost it in the heat of the moment.
Sadly Garrett’s actions will cost the Browns. His talent will be missed on the field regardless of how many games he is suspended.
One can only hope the Browns can turn this ugly football team’s culture around before the season comes to a close. Otherwise, it is going to be another very long offseason.
Eric Poston can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org